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THE DYNASTS ACT n
Report to me
What has been scanned to-day upon the main, And on your passage down request them there To send Daru this way.
DECR£S (as he withdraws)
The Emperor can be sanguine. Scarce can I. His letters are more promising than mine. Alas, alas, Villeneuve, my dear old friend, Why do you pen me this at such a time!
[He retires reading VILLENEUVE'S letter.
The Emperor walks up and down till DARU, his private secretary, joins him.
Come quick, Daru ; sit down upon the grass, And write whilst I am in mind.
First to Villeneuve :— " I trust, Vice-Admiral, that before this date Your fleet has opened Brest, and gone. If not, These lines will greet you there. But pause not, pray: Waste not a moment dallying. Sail away : Once bring my coupled squadrons Channelwards And England's soil is ours. All's ready here, The troops alert, and every store embarked. Hold the nigh sea but four-and-twenty hours And our vast end is gained."
Now to Ganteaume :—
" My telegraphs will have made known to you My object and desire to be but this, That you forbid Villeneuve to lose an hour In getting fit and putting forth to sea, To profit by the fifty first-rate craft Wherewith I now am bettered. Quickly weigh, And steer you for the Channel with all your strength. I count upon your well-known character, Your enterprize, your vigour, to do this. Sail hither, then; and we will be avenged For centuries of despite and contumely."